A number of genes, commonly called �housekeeping genes,� are essential for the metabolic activity of living cells. These genes have a wide variety of protein structures, but what they have in common is that they play a necessary role in normal cell function.
From genomic studies, we know that there are massive alterations in gene structure in prostate cancer cells. There is amplification of genetic regions that stimulate the production of tumors and loss of regions containing tumor suppressors. Often, when the tumor suppressor is lost, some of the essential nearby housekeeping genes are also deleted. The loss, however, is compensated by the creation of an isoform�a different form of protein that performs the same function�elsewhere on the genome. However, measures can be taken that involve therapeutic targeting of this remaining isoform to selectively kill the tumor cell. We are testing an isoform-specific inhibitor that, if effective, could potentially benefit many patients who have prostate cancer.